May 28, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; Former U-M Football star DB Charles Woodson at a press conference at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

U-M Football: Expect Jabrill Peppers to revitalize defense

Thanks to a pair of excellent recruiting  classes in 2012 and 2013, the U-M football team will be the deepest since the latter years of the Lloyd Carr era.

Head coach Brady Hoke will finally go into a season with mainly kids that he recruited.

It couldn’t have come at a better time since fan reaction after last year’s dismal 7-6 season was not exactly positive.

What makes this fall even more optimistic is the arrival of lock-down corner Jabrill Peppers.

U-M is waiting

Not since the up and down career of Denard Robinson, has someone created such a stir.

The 6-0, 190 lb. Peppers arrives at Michigan touted as’s No. 1 cornerback and’s  No. 2 national recruit. He’s often  compared to Michigan’s 1997 Heisman Trophy winner, Charles Woodson.

If Peppers comes anywhere close to accomplishing what Woodson did, even fans in the student section will be thrilled.

Don’t forget, Woodson not only won the Heisman, he also played on the 1997 national championship team, ran back kicks, punts, completed  passes (2-for-2), threw passes, starred as a part-time receiver, and was arguably Michigan’s best-ever cornerback.

The chart below illustrates his marvelous three-year career (1995-97).

Career Rushing11 Carries173 yardsAvg. 15.72 TD
Career Receiving25 Receptions402 yardsAvg. 16.13 TD
Kickoff Returns3 Returns78 yardsAvg. 26.00 TD
Punt Returns47 Returns407 yardsAvg. 8.71 TD
Defensive Stats162 Total Tackles18 Interceptions25 Passes Broken Up

And there are those who really believe Peppers is already in Woodson’s league.  “(He) could play four to five different positions and excel at them, says’s Scott Kennedy.   “He is a strong running back.  He is as fluid as a good corner.  He hits like a linebacker.  He could play safety.  You could honestly take him and put him in an outside linebacker position and he would flourish.  He is going to return kicks.  He is going to return punts.  He catches anything that is near him.  He is spectacular.  He is a top three player in this country, regardless of position for a reason and at 5’10” or 5’11”, he is pretty special.

Head coach Brady isn’t quite ready to hand Peppers the keys to the kingdom.

Peppers will prove his worth

“Let’s get him in here and let him be a corner for a while, and let him get acclimated to everything about college football,” Hoke said. Let’s let the kid walk on campus, go to a class during the summer and be a freshman. And then let what he does speak for itself.”

Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison expects  competition at every position.

“Everybody that we signed, everybody that comes in during the fall will have open season (to compete for a job),” Mattison said. “A guy like Jabrill, we’ve seen him and we know he’s very, very talented. But the key now is to put him in the best position to make the most impact.

“Whatever that is, we’ll figure that out as we get closer to that time. He’s such a talented young man and he’s so versatile and been really well coached in high school — he’s played safety, corner, nickel. There’s a lot of places where a very talented young man could help the team.”

The consensus says he’ll be a huge help,  and very soon. ♦

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Joel Greer



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Tags: #GoBlue Coach Brady Hoke Coach Greg Mattison Jabrill Peppers Michigan Football Recruiting

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